As a preface ..
I was raised and born in Russia, and here my point of view on Japanese houses will be the opinion of a person who was raised and born in Russia. I apologize in advance for the inaccuracy and rudeness of my English, which I am just learning.

Many traditions of the land of the rising sun interested me. But what undoubtedly touched my mind is precisely the culture of arranging traditional Japanese houses. And here my main focus was not on the Japanese house itself in terms of its appearance from the point of view of aesthetics or architecture. Although this architecture is also beautiful. But I was much more interested in the Japanese way of life itself and the interior arrangement of the house. Although it is sometimes not always possible to separate one from the other here.

For the typical Russian, usually not particularly sophisticated by interests or curiosity about Eastern cultures, this worldview is not particularly understandable. At the same time, it is not particularly accepted. In typical Russian culture, the mass unconscious of our society, impeccably stereotyped by Western clichés and amazed by pseudo-debility, will not understand a person who does not have any furniture in his apartment. He will be perceived as a madman, a sectarian, or a homeless person. And one can only guess about the true attitude in our society towards sleeping on the tatami.. (I involuntarily recall an incident from the Russian TV show "Heads and Tails"). Although, in my personal experience, sleeping on a tatami perfectly straightens your back and gives you vigor.

I have always been interested in the cultures of other countries, and Japanese is not the least in them. I am also interested in people who are passionate about the Far East. But for my current environment, as well as for the rest of today's Russia as a whole, this is a rarity.

Moving away from lyrical digressions, I will move on to the topic of the note. In this test article, I want to briefly talk about some of the nuances of arranging Japanese houses from a traditional point of view. That is, through the eyes of Japan itself, as I understand it. This article is not very long, but make yourself comfortable.

Perhaps it would be worth starting with how the Japanese generally see the space around them.

It is extremely interesting that a native of Japan usually will not perceive free space as "empty". The space occupied by air, for the Japanese, will be precisely the space “occupied by air”. In the same way, in the opinion of the Japanese, it can be occupied by something else - a vase standing on a shelf, a chair, or growing greenery. For further understanding of various subtleties in the diversity of Japanese traditions, such a perception of the world and space in it is necessary and fundamental. You need to lay this concept in your head for a while, as part of the foundation on which everything will already be built. And all further to consider through this prism.

However, the traditions of the land of the rising sun are not always so ambiguous. In some moments, Japanese culture is nevertheless close precisely to Russian, in comparison, for example, with Western European or American neighbors that are far from me. First of all, this concerns the well-known tradition to us to take off shoes when entering a house - which is completely natural for a Russian person.

However, in Japan this process will be more ceremonial. In the Japanese house there is a specially designated place for this - tataki. This is a strip of concrete floor in the hallway, designed directly for removing shoes there. Just like a bed in our Russian, as well as in Western culture, will be designed for sleeping.

In general, in the Japanese worldview, each separate area inside the house is always strictly functional, and must fulfill its own purpose. Like a detail in a large mechanism. I think, in a sense, it can even be called engineering thinking. Especially if you look at where all modern Western design engineering has begun to move today. That is, this is minimalism.

But back to the description of the Japanese house itself.

Another part of the house in the hallway, which occupies the space next to the tataki, is called the geto-bako. The so-called "geta box", that is, for shoes. The general "hallway body" is called genkan. In our Russian understanding and perception, genkan will be something like a kind of combination of a hallway and a porch.

In addition, if in our Russian culture we take off our shoes only when entering our house or visiting, then in Japan genkan can be present in different places. For example, when entering the premises of educational institutions. This was played very well in the 18th minute in "Tokyo Drift", where actor Lucas Black enters a class for a lesson at a Japanese school. Genkan is also present at the entrance to the offices of some old-fashioned Japanese companies. In general, I noted that the business environment in Japan is largely influenced by traditions rooted in Japanese culture, and differs markedly from the West.

Also, a drain is organized extremely laconically in a Japanese house, if it is a private house, and not an apartment in a building. You can often see a series of water containers suspended from each other. Or some other engineering and technical product of creative thought in the form of various notorious forms for water. These chains of links in the form of small cups, through which rainwater flows to the ground, are called kusari-doi. This is an extremely traditional Japanese thing. Typically, these links are suspended from the drain of a long, narrow gutter. The gutter itself also has a separate name - ama-doi.

Kusari-doi can have different forms, types and methods of execution. But the main task of the kusari-doi will be one - to streamline the movement of rain, forming from it, together with the links, an integral form. That is, both for the drainage of rainwater, and also for the aesthetic and mental effect. You can see different performances of kusari-doi in this selection of photographs.

Indulging in some reflections, I can assume that in ancient Japan such water collection once had a purely practical meaning - for the use of rainwater in everyday life. The descendants of today's Japanese did not have running water and found an elegant way to curb the rains because they found rainwater to be potable and very clean. However, in those days when these traditions were just emerging, people's homes did not coexist with industrial enterprises and polluted areas. Today, kusari-doi will often be simply lowered to the ground, and will not use the aesthetic vessel underneath in addition to the structure. However, the collection of rainwater into various large vessels, although it is used extremely rarely, is still found. However, the collection of rainwater in various large vessels, although it is already used extremely rarely, is still found today in Japan. How such a work of art looks can be seen in this selection of photos.

There is a lot more that I would like to cover by talking about Japanese houses, but within the framework of one article it will be somewhat tedious.

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